Daydream comes true at familiar backdrop
May 31, 2015
By Mike McAllister, PGATOUR.COM
- Steven Bowditch picked up his second PGA TOUR victory Sunday at TPC Four Seasons Resort. (Scott Halleran/Getty Images)
IRVING, Texas – While waiting for husband Steven to finish one of his first interviews following Sunday’s win at the AT&T Byron Nelson, Amanda Bowditch was asked by a member of the media how long the two had been married.
“Three-and-a-half years,” she said. Then a slight grin crossed her face as she wondered, “Is Steven asking you that or is somebody else?”
Don’t worry, Amanda. Your husband knows exactly when he married you.
“9/10/11,” he said.
And he’ll never forget where, either.
For the second time in the native Australian’s life, TPC Four Seasons Resort provided the backdrop to a life-altering moment. Bowditch closed out the victory with a 5-under 64. It comes 1,351 days after he and Amanda celebrated their wedding day in the same location.
In fact, not only did Steven and Amanda pose for wedding photos on the 18th green that day, their honeymoon villa was just steps off the green.
“Pretty surreal feeling,” Steven said after his four-shot win. “… Taking photos on the green today was definitely the second best time I’ve had on that green.”
Ten years ago, Bowditch “threw a dart at a map” and moved to North Texas. He then met Amanda, who grew up in the area. They now live in nearby Flower Mound for 11-1/2 months a year. “I can’t see us moving anywhere else,” said Steven, whose other win on the PGA TOUR came last year in San Antonio. “No state tax.”
When they were married at St. Ann Catholic in Coppell prior to holding the reception at TPC Four Seasons, there were 300 people in attendance. On Sunday, Amanda estimates there were at least 50 family and close friends following her husband.
“It was fun to have them celebrate the wedding and it’s equally as special to have them celebrate this win,” Amanda said. “It was a special day in our lives and this one is right there with it.”
Since settling into the area, Steven occasionally daydreamed about winning his adopted hometown event. But he had never played well here in four previous starts, missing three cuts and finishing tied for 60th the other time.
But as he’ll fully acknowledge, that’s the way his career has gone. “When it’s good, it’s good,” he said. “When it’s not, I’m just trying to hang on.”
It was good this week, especially over the last 13 holes when he seized control of the tournament. When that stretch started, he was tied for the lead with Dustin Johnson. But at the pivotal par-4 sixth, Bowditch birdied while Johnson hit two poor tee shots that led to a quadruple bogey.
After that, there was no stopping Bowditch, as he was 6 under over those last 13 holes. Outwardly, he appeared calm, in cruise control. He even stopped to sign an autograph late in the round. But on the inside? “Moving a mile a minute,” he said. “I wasn’t really at ease.”
Only after his tee shot at 18 did he finally feel comfortable. A little while later, he and Amanda were posing for photos with Peggy Nelson, Byron’s widow. They were on the 18th green. They knew exactly where to stand.
Steven Bowditch wins the AT&T Byron Nelson
THAT 17TH TEE SHOT: Bowditch definitely got away with one on his tee shot at the par-3 17th. He was trying to land the shot 30 feet left of the flagstick but instead blocked his drive, and the ball appeared headed for the water guarding the green. He had a three-shot lead at the time, but the last thing Bowditch needed was a disaster heading into the final hole.
“My stomach hit the floor when that took off the club face,” he said.
After the ball cleared the water and landed to the right of the pin. Bowditch stared long and hard at the result. Was he thinking it was just his day?
“No,” Bowditch said. “It was more, ‘That was a bad shot, wasn’t it?’ That was lucky."
SPIETH SUMS UP TEXAS: After three runner-up finishes in his home state this season, Jordan Spieth wasn’t in the mix on Sunday in his hometown event. Still, his tie for 30th is his best at TPC Four Seasons since his tie for 16th as a 16-year-old in 2011.
“Maybe I’ve stepped down from when I was 16,” Spieth said, “but (I’ll) pick it back up at some point.”
Spieth shot an even-par 69, leaving him at 7 under. It was a far cry from a week ago when he birdied the 18th hole at Colonial, giving himself at least the possibility of sneaking into a playoff had Chris Kirk stumbled down the stretch (which, of course, he didn’t).
On this Sunday, he spent his afternoon soaking in the support from the massive number of fans following their local hero. He was especially pleased to see so many kids in the galleries. After all, he’s not too far removed from being one of them.
“It’s definitely a comfortable feeling seeing people that I know and seeing them out here supporting me,” Spieth said. “It’s really cool. It doesn’t go unnoticed even though sometimes I’ll just walk right through the ropes and on to the next hole.”
ZACH GOES LOW IN TEXAS: Due to a schedule change this season, Zach Johnson put the AT&T Byron Nelson on his playing schedule for the first time in 10 years. The last time he played here, the tournament namesake was still alive.
This time, he was greeted by Nelson's widow, Peggy, after walking off the 18th green Sunday following a 6-under 63, which tied for the low round of the day. That moved him into solo fifth, his third top-20 finish in as many starts in Texas this season.
“I saw her during the week a few times,” Johnson said of Peggy Nelson. “She’s all about hugs. Like to embrace and she’s taken ownership of this place, as she should. We want her to be out here.”
Johnson shot a back-nine 30 to move up the leaderboard, but after starting six shots off the lead, he had too much ground to make up.
“Outside of a pretty poor bogey on nine,” Johnson said, “I really can’t find another shot that I feel like I left out there.”
LONE STAR AUSSIES: Both of Bowditch’s wins have come in Texas. Adam Scott is the only player to win all four Texas events. Jason Day’s first TOUR win came in Dallas. Stuart Appleby and Robert Allenby have won in Houston.
So what’s with all the Aussie success in the Lone Star State?
“Most of the time, it’s dry and it’s windy, so I think that is a little bit of an advantage for Australians, so to speak,” Bowditch said. “It’s just the way we grow up. But this week, I’m not sure. I guess everything clicked and it was my time to win.”
ODDS & ENDS
Steven Bowditch’s total of 259 is a tournament record, besting the 261 that Rory Sabbatini shot in 2009. Of course, that was on a par-70 course for all four rounds, while the final three rounds this week were played on a par-69 course due to modifications at the 14th hole …
Three players recorded top-10 finishes in both of the North Texas events the last two weeks: Brandt Snedeker (T2 at Crowne Plaza, T6 at AT&T Byron Nelson); Colt Knost (T10 both weeks) and Charley Hoffman (T10 at Crowne Plaza; T2 at AT&T Byron Nelson) …
Brandt Snedeker was 13 under the final three rounds, including his 64 on Sunday. But the opening 71 took him out of the mix before he could get cranked up. “Ended up with a good finish this week,” Snedeker said, “but disappointing because I played so bad the first round.”
SHOT OF THE DAY
Steven Bowditch records a key birdie on the 71st hole at AT&T Byron Nelson
CALL OF THE DAY
Tom Werme calls Scott Pinckney's chip-in birdie at No. 15 at the AT&T Byron Nelson.